Ethiopia scores United Nations praise for welcoming refugees despite challenges

According to a new report from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, 65.6 million people are now living as refugees or as displaced persons inside their own countries.

Geneva - More than 120 refugees, mostly from Sudan and Nigeria, are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat sank off the Libyan coast on Friday, UNHCR reported on World Refugee Day. Devastating conflicts, violence and persecution in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere left a record 65.6 million people uprooted from their homes by the end of 2016, the United Nations said Monday.

Syrian civil war that is in sixth year with no signs of cessation of hostilities continues to force people out of their homes and country with 12 million Syrian refugees scattered across countries and continents.

"This equates to one person becoming displaced every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence", UNHCR pointed out in a statement.

He noted that more people than ever in our lifetimes are fleeing war, disasters and persecution.

Within this appeal, UNICEF operations require almost $50 million in 2017 as well as $30 million each year from 2018-2020 to provide critical health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, early childhood development, adolescent development, and child protection interventions, for both refugee and host community children.

Until 2012, the global displacement number had for years remained relatively stable at around 40 million people, but "we now seem to be landing on a new horrific normal", he told AFP.

If the country's population, which is overwhelmingly homogeneous, reaches a point where it is ready to accept more refugees, it would be possible for the government "to expand the resettlement program, which has been running for a number of years", Hebecker said.

That figure has ballooned by a further half million people since then, the agency said, stressing that most of the refugees have left since the "disastrous breakdown of peace efforts" last July.

"Uganda has a progressive and generous open door policy to refugees providing better prospects for refugee children than in many contexts globally", said Pakkala, expressing hope that such a model is supported widely across countries. There are reportedly 4,418 Afghan refugees without PoR cards in Pakistan.

Almost 86 percent of all refugees in the country are women and children and Uganda is now the third largest refugee-hosting country in the world, after Turkey and Pakistan.

According to the breakdown of Ottawa's immigration plan for 2017, 9,000 resettlements will include 7,500 government-assisted refugees and 1,500 people admitted through a blended program that combines government and private sponsorships.

According to the report, about 84 per cent of the people were in low- or middle-income countries as of end 2016.

  • Carolyn Briggs